tv Q A CSPAN February 8, 2015 8:00pm-9:01pm EST
then, the prime minister takes questions from the house of commons. and later, jeb bush talks >> is weak on -- this week on "q&a," guest is david brooks. he talks about the annual sidney awards, recognizing his favorite articles. he talks about his approach to writing, how it has true, how he writes his columns, and a new book euros coming out soon -- he has coming out soon. >> when writing in the "new york times:"" since the 70's.
>> i thought it was going to be morbid humor column. -- a humor column. either i was not funny enough or the audience is further to the left and are not rooting for you so that you. -- that changed. maybe every other column is political. that is where my interests have gone, i learned you have to trust your interests, what are you passionate about the week. that is what you want to share with readers. i have come to believe that religious, cultural, and moral investigations or what i care most about at this stage in life and what we need and culture. we have a tone of political commentary but how to think about eternal life, we do not have public figures. we used to have that that
e -- internal life, we do not have public figures. >> one thing that got my attention is your sidney awards that you give out. ms. interview today -- this interview is going to be about your writing and your thinking about when did that start -- but when did that start? >> it is the best articles from that year. the idea is that they come out around the christmas week, between christmas and new year's, and that that is a good week to step out and not lead incident. but step back and have the time to read something deeper -- incidental stop but step back and have the time to read something deeper. >> why are they named after
sidney hook? >> does he was a reflective philosopher. i was at stanford at the hoover institution and we had coffee and cookies. and there was one table where the economists said, milton friedman. -- sat milton friedman. and the other was sidney hook. and i got to choose which table to sit up. i remember one time, he explained the problem of evil over about three hours. six or seven or eight of us just listening to him. he is an exemplar of a person who is passionately engaged in politics but also reflective and well educated. if the news is here, sidney hook was up here. the idea was to lift us up from
the day to day flow of events. >> for three hours but what was his basic point that you talked for three hours, but what was his basic -- you talked for three hours but what was his basic point about evil and god? >> people have wrestled with this problem, why does a the decision job -- efficient -- benevolent god allow children to die? when i was there he had an operation that nearly killed him. he wrote to the "new york times" saying he wished they had let him die. he accepted there was no afterlife and was willing to go. a man of stark intellectual
bravery. >> did you know him -- how well did you know him? >> i would not say i knew him well. we spent time at together and there were other conferences i saw him at. i would recommend is anyone goes on amazon or a used book site that they read his memoirs which are really good. if you want to understand intellectual life in the 20th century. he was a marxist, he wrote about leadership, the migrated into anti-communist without giving up autism. all the currents of the 20th century ran through sidney hook. >> we have some video, that goes back. 1969, march of 1969. he was on bill buckley's "firing
line." >> they say that socialism becomes anything for which we can enrich the democratic what of life. >> i am sure you believe in socialism because you believe it can accomplish something good. >> i believe it is more in harmony with what i defined as the democratic way of life. >> the theorist who wrote around the same time said that one of the functions of the democracy is to keep private property perpetually insecure. it seems to be a lord somebody. >> anyway, it was a bad socialist. [laughter] a bad finger. -- bad thinker. >> talk about thinking.
>> first, about that click, it is all white men. also, bill buckley was my mentor, he created my career. we will conversation on that show is amazing -- the level of conversation on that show is amazing. buckley did not bow down to an audience, he had a high level conversation. i saw him with gnome chomsky were they went back and forth dutch no -- noam chomsky where they went back and forth. we haven't intellectual image between 1955 and 1965. -- we had an intellectual golden age between 1955 and 1965. height than journalism but lower than professors, big and
ambitious books with a public effect. people like rachel carson, ginger drugs dutch james jacobs -- james j dubs. it was the golden age. these were big bestsellers. the idea was you would take intellectual risks you were not confined within an academic discipline is regular and language -- with ruigour and intellectual language. they were big and ambitious and sidney hook was a part of that. he wrote a book about the leader in history. they attracted big leaderships if you look at the bestseller lists in those days. we do not have that as much today. i think in part because we are
not audacious enough, not willing to take risk, worried about getting it wrong. sidney hook went to -- i do not know if he went to city college or not. executed. >> -- >> he did. >> did israel to find people left on that dutch it is rare -- it is really to find people that have done that. >> talk about when you do your thinking. >>, one advantage i went to the university of chicago. the joke is that it is an back-to-school with india's professors. -- baptist school with atheist professor words. s. reading people that you disagree
with as a columnist i do not think it is my job to tell people what to think, it is to give them a context in which to think. so they can react to my columns wood or bad, as long as -- good or bad, as long as they are thinking. you have to be familiar with the big ideas, you have to see all sides, and you have to take walks. and try to think things through and let things but look to you. -- bubble up to you. my day is regimented, i write in the morning. i write at home, fewer distractions except for the fridge. but then i am burned out. my brain can only work for about three hours of writing and then it is just fried inhibiting of produce will be mediocre. -- and everything it produces
will be mediocre. i often call my friends at 9:30. you will get the work patterns of great writers and thinkers and composers, -- you look at the work patterns of great writers and thinkers and to moses. -- composers. i have a friend who is a writer i do not think he would mind me saying it, he is a prominent writer at harvard, i am told that he takes long showers because that is a great time to think. and so those kinds of activities, you have to give yourself space. maybe there is somebody out there that can sit at a desk and say i will think of this problem, i am not one of those people, the feet have to be moving. >> to the sidney awards, you give anything away? >> it is all for honor.
"q&a >> -- >> did you think about other people to name it after? >> the first years i called them the hookies but that did not work so i changed it to the sydney's. it is partly because of my admiration for the public intellectuals of that era. >> let's watch a little more of him, this was later on, back in 1987. >> we thought that socialism meant that the ideals of democracy would be extended to all areas of human life. and even today when someone asks me, you still regard yourself as a socialist? i say, if you permit me to define socialism, i would define them in terms as the believe in
democracy as a way of life. >> deweyian terms, john dewey. he says he is a pragmatist. >> i have tried to read dewey many times, he is the worst writer imaginable. he was a early 20th century philosopher and writer on education. i am not the best person to talk because i have tried to lead him many times and failed. the thing about him calling himself a socialist, people deeply committed to ideas, they grew out of that movement area they might have turned right or turned left at the grew out of that because socialism was an ideal that would change the world. it was like a secular religion. he went to city college and at city college, investors were ok, there was one great professor. the educational -- the
professors were ok, there was one great professor. in the cafeteria, there were two alcoves. out of one and alcoves to. -- alcoves one and alcoves two. in alcoves two the trotskyites sat. they argued back and forth and the trotskyites were smarter than the stalinists and the stalinists were forbidden from talking to the trotskyites because they would lose the arguments. if you look at the people that were trotskyites in the alcove, some of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century. sidney hook, irving kristol daniel bell, a whole series of others who i am not forgetting. >> was upon horse there -- was
podhortz there? >> he came later. it is about the intensity of ideas. he really thought they were -- they really thought they were confident that the world was going to be right and giving that up was like christians giving up christianity. there was an intensity of believe they had. >> magazines. why do you give these awards to magazine writers? >> i believe in magazines. i work for a newspaper now but i believe magazine strange history. "the new republic," it really did change history, it created progressivism and a voice for modern liberalism. conservatism hardly existed until "the national review"
given a voice. -- gave it a voice. now we are so individualized, everybody has a twitter handle. but back then there was a community and every community at a point of view. "commentary" at one point of view, "this at" had another point of view -- "dissent" at another point of view. be happy as professional. -- the happiest professional period of my life was working at magazines. secondly, longer is better. when i read the sydney's, i read to get my 10 awards, probably six or 700 magazine articles a week.
i always think, why don't i do more of this? with newspapers i always forget but magazines linger in the brain. books are better than magazines and magazines are better than newspaper articles which are better than blogs which are better than tweets. but the mind runs downhill to tweets because it is so easy. you have to push yourself up the. -- upheld. ill. >> i have heard you say you cannot write a hundred words you need 3000. >> my natural link is three to 5000 -- my natural li is 3000 t 5000 -- length is 3000 to 5000. my exact workout is 800 and six
-- word count is 806. that is the space on the page. you are going down one length of column so that is what you do, you hit a hundred six -- 806. you write longer and then you cut. >> i read in one of your sydney columns that you advise people to go to three places if they want more of what you are talking about and i will put it on the screen. "arts and letters daily," "the browser" and "book forum." what are those? >> those are aggregator site. they link to longform pieces out there in the world. my favorite right now, "the browser" has become my favorite.
google links to three or four pieces in the english -- very well with link to three or -- they will link to three or four pieces in the english-speaking world. >> new york know who arms it>> -- >> do you know who owns it? >> i forget but he is british. >> do you pay? >> you pay a small amount and you get full access. >> for the list back on the screen, "arts and letters daily," what is that? >> "the browser" is political and "arts and letters daily" is academic. they will link to criticism but a lot of overlap, think pieces about writers and art. that was funded by a guy that died five years ago, five or 10
years ago. it has continued and is very strong. >> i read that he patterned it after "the drudge report" but for smarter people. [laughter] >> they will have summaries of each thing but it is links to larger pieces. >> wizard one? -- the third one? >> it is more book oriented>>. i follow people on twitter and online by the quality of their life. -- link. this economist from george washington university, he has a voracious mind. he will link to all kinds of things aside from the high-quality content of his own.
it is like having friends say do you see this, you see that? >> we asked when you started out you have changed in the time you have written for the "new york times." how has column reading sh changed? >> i feel we have more readers than ever before. we have a revenue problem but people are gravitating towards big and authoritative sources so we are getting the benefit of a lot of reading. columnists are important in starting conversations. it is not like walter lippman a mid-20th-century and he was the oracle, the grave voice telling you what to think. we are down in the playpen a little more. we are not people of great stature. but i do think conversations get started and when you hit the
column at the right time you hear about it for week. >> some people might have heard about how you became a conservative. i want to run that and have you follow up. >> i am a native new yorker, i grew up here. my family was somewhat left-wing. they were hippies in the 60's and they sent me to central park to a place called the be in were hippies would go to be. they took about their wallets and set them on fire -- out their wallets and set them on fire to demonstrate how little they cared. i reached into the fire and grabbed a five dollar bill and ran away and that was my first step to the right. [laughter] >> how much did your parents are about money? -- care about money? >> they did not care particularly about money.
i should say that was the redeemer church. at first they violently object when i say they were hippies. >> are they still alive? >> yes. the event was a hippie event but they were in some sense 1950's intellectuals, culturally conservative, politically kind of liberal but centrist realistic cold war democrats. they objected to the vietnam war and work for aed koch. i overdraw how left-wing they were in that vignette. >> they cared about money, and in that story, you care about money more than they do. >> that is a good question. my father was a professor and my mother was a professor and then worked with pharmaceutical
companies and i do not think anyone would say they were materialistic. we had a total of books at home -- ton of books at home. there is a saying, it takes three generations to make a career. my grandfather on my mother's side was a lawyer but a great writer. my parents were professors of reading. that helped nurture be in writing. i think that is true if you are a plumber or a policeman or whatever. i was fortunate to know what i wanted to do at age seven at age seven i decided i wanted to be a writer, and it is the good fortune to know what you're calling is. >> is writing hard? >> oh, yes. it does not get easier. >> this person, they came on the
college over this reason, it was an article called "the case for reparations." why did you pick this for a sidney awards? >> when we talk about reparations, this is what i am talking about. policies that everyone is proud of and everyone is proud of social security and the g.i. bill, the flipside is to come to terms with the fact that some portion of our population was cut out of all of that and it was ourselves, what is the result -- ask ourselves, what is the result? it does not end with slavery african were emancipated and the countryside, welcome into the country. one of the big things we talk about is how policy and redlining specifically -- and redlining was not outlined until 1968 -- outlawed until 1968.
african-americans that are alive lived with this. >> we are linking on the website to your columns where you write about this if people want to catch up with the awards. why did you pick this particular article in "the atlantic?" >> that was the easiest call imaginable. it had this huge effect, it became one of the most read articles in "the atlantic does quote history and it has been around 100 years -- atlantic" history and it has been around 100 years. it has propulsive force, it is hard to stop reading the piece. it is online, there are a lot of tools to it. i think the strength of the article is what he talked about which is the redlining the discrimination that existed after the civil rights act after slavery, that still
existed and affect lives, some of it just stealing stuff. the redlining certain neighborhoods in chicago or all black and property values are dropping, all white and property values are increasing. the generational wealth effect it has. the hits you over the head with the continuous momentum. he makes the case -- and this part of the article is weaker as the case is weaker. -- because the case is weaker. the thoughts about it as a big apology -- he talks about it as a big apology and facing up to history. financial reparations, you run into problems. how do you separate african-americans who had ancestors and slavery and those who came over in the last 50 years. the second problem is that politically, it would be very hard if you took, take x or y
very successful african-american business person. it would be hard to ask middle-class taxpayers to subsidize, to give money to an affluent african-american. politically it is a tough thing to do, i do not know if barack obama, will ask a middle-class family in kansas to pay more taxes so barack obama can have more money. region of the of policies, aggressive policies that will heal -- we can think of policies, aggressive policies that will heal the inequalities that are there. >> if you had to pick a magazine that is consistent when it comes to in-depth articles, what would you? pick? >> i have a great liking for the atlantic. i like david bradley.
there are a lot of great magazines, "the new yorker" is a phenomenal magazine. they are more narratives, or writerly. the -- "the atlantic" is more thesis driven. i think i am biased towards that but when i do about the sidney awards, early a year goes by -- no year -- nearly a year has gone by, no year has gone by without something from both of these magazines. "granta" is up there. they have more literary pieces, less journalistic and more personal essays. there are other things barely heard of. "the hedgehog review." "american interest" is a fine
magazine out of washington. there is another magazine, "national affairs." i think i picked from there this year a piece by a woman on the gettysburg address. i learned a lot from her, i thought i knew about the gettysburg address. i forgot the exact number but i think she said there were 120 separate words. >> 72 overall -- 272 overall. >> she goes through each of these phrases and says where they came from and how they evolved and different uses over the years. "conceived in liberty," what did lincoln mean when he was 20, when he was 40? it is a deep dive into that speech which i found illuminating. >> there is another -- one of the things that you say is that hardly a year goes by that you
cannot give an award to michael lewis. >> i try to not give him an award because he has gotten a few but superstars are superstars. >> let's look at him for a while. for those who do not know him he has gotten a lot of attention. >> so a guy that i met experiment did in high-frequency trading strategies but never put into practice, and professorial type -- a sensorial type, collided with an old trader. let's try. let's go trade with the thing you dreamed up. i have never done it before but let's do it. they are doctors doing trades and a hit the button -- hope all to doing trades -- hooked up to doing trades and they hit the button and they are losing money.
the ceo says, turn it off. the yanks the blood out of the wall to shut the machine -- he yeanks the plug out of the wall to shut the machine down. it is the wall street man overconfidence, male overconfidence responsible for so much trouble in the financial system. when the ecological technology it is toxic. >> the -- it collides with technology it is toxic. >> men drown at twice the rate of women because they have confidence in their ability to swim after they have been drinking. it is a gender linked trait. i do not know if it is cultural or genetic. >> the article you picked was out of "vanity fair." >> he is an interesting case.
these third his career on wall street and became a journalist for "the new republic." i first ran into him when he was covering the primaries but he could not care about the establishment candidates so he wrote about the weird candidate. he became close to mccain. if anyone wants to be a journalist, everyone has their own style. michael is distinct and instructive on both. his writerly style is at ease of storytelling, doing something hard and making it look easy so that people underappreciated he is. -- under appreciate how good he is. they just tells a complex issue in story form -- he just tells a complex issue in story form. there is just and he's there -- an ease.
some people do an interview as a confrontation. some people do it as a seduction. some people do it as an exchange of information. i have not heard this from woodward that he has said it is a trade -- but it is said that it is a trade. michael is the most charming human being it is possible to imagine and they will say anything to get him to hang around. he is from new orleans and he has new orleans charm so he is a pleasure to be around and it is is winning personality. -- is his winning personality. >> talk about your public performance. you still do previous on fridays -- pbs on fridays? >> yes. >> how long is the segment? >> 12 or 40 minutes which is a
lifetime -- 14 minutes which is a lifetime. >> to npr? >> "all things considered," also on friday. i have done that since the late 90's. every friday afternoon i have a routine, i drive to npr and to pbs and i commune with catholic liberals from massachusetts. >> two columns a week. when do you read them in hard copy and online? >> tuesdays and fridays. used to be monday and thursday night but now tuesday on frida -- and friday. >> how often do you speak? >> i would say on average once
every 10 days. >> for money? >> sometimes for money. >> when you go out and have public performances, what is your approach? you look at michael lewis and his public approach, what do you do to get attention? >> a couple of things. first, never waste a sentence. my speeches, if i am giving a speech to college, they will be 40 or 50 minutes. every sentence i daughter as a note -- utter has a note attached. if you have filler,. it gets boring. you have to learn to trust the audience, let them hold you up, show what you have and they will hold you up. be vulnerable, tell jokes. covering politics, i see a lot
of speakers. i remember seeing mitt romney give a speech and ann romney, his wife, give a speech. mitt romney never threw himself into the audience. ann romney naturally threw herself and you could see the difference. mitt romney is a perfectly fine speaker but it does not connect as much. you have to trust them, talk to them in a way that is heartfelt to you and they will carry you up. there are other trickster public speaking, -- fritz to public speaking -- tricks to public speaking, one is that people do not keep attention on one subject for more than eight minutes. people will accept radical changes of subject, see the state of the union speech. there is a normal rhythm to a speech which typically starts
out with humor and then serious stuff but you have to spike it with humor in between and then a crescendo. >> how do you deal with criticism? all do that, i will show you a clip from msnbc -- hold on to that, i will show you a clip from msnbc. >> brooks has this argument that is useful we'd, it will make you dumber, his article made me dumber -- if you smoke weed, it will make you dumber. his article made me dumber. i know from personal experience you can smoke and it will open you up to do perspectives and this is why i created -- why people have been smoking marijuana for centuries. the idea that it is the ruination of society is baseless. the idea that you are only and are all out, there are smart
people -- all in or all out their arse -- there are smart people that are lawyers. >> my claim was, and he is wrong about this. if you are an adult and you smoke weed, it does not have an effect on your brain. if you're a teenager, it definitely does. >> how old are your kids? >> connectors. -- it is something to be taken seriously. as for the effects on creativity, people have studied this and found that you have the illusion that you are more creative when you are smoking hot not much evidence that -- but you not much evidence that you actually are. as for disagreement, what he was talking about, that is what i am trying to do. i have a point of view and he
has a point of view, i am not the last word, i am throwing out a volley. the word essay comes from the french word to try. in the process, people make up their minds. that sort of criticism, i am honored by, and we are all honored when people pay attention. >> had you ever seen the? at? >> no. >> did you know what happened? -- it happened? >> no. i am always moving to the next column, i do not have time to cover. i am amazingly oblivious. >> let me ask you, as i was doing research i kept running into the story, is david brooks divorced or not? .org did -- gawker did a piece. >> i am divorced.
i do not want to legally talk about it but i am divorced. >> you had written you were against divorce. >> i have written pro-marriage and i do believe in marriage and mine did not work out and i desperately want to get married again to somebody. i totally believe in marriage. one thing i read in general about marriage is that it is the most important decision in your life. i finished a book yesterday, i hit the send button yesterday. the name of the book is "the road to character." 10 people that have led impressive inner moral lives. people ranging from george c marshall to dorothy day two samuel johnson. they all had a great sense of their own weakness. when we think of the outside world, success is a struggle
against the world but google is wrong inner character is a confrontation with yourself, you have to figure out your weaknesses and take the parts that are weakest and make them strongest. >> how did you pick them? >> they exemplify the strain of what i call moral realism. >> how long did it take? >> is slowly accumulates. -- it slowly accumulates. i believe is you should only write a book is the process will be worth it. published in april from random house. >> back to the sidney awards, there is a third one. you have done this since 2004, 1080 year, -- 10 a year. this is a test talk, -- ted
talk, a piece called the end of men. >> it used to be that you were a guy that went to high school that did not have a college degree but had a specific set of skills and with the help of a union you could make a middle-class life but that is not true anymore. the new economy is indifferent to size and strength which has helped man all of these years. what the economy requires is a different set of skills, intelligence and an ability to sit still and focus, communicate openly listen to people and operate in a work is that is more fluid. and those are things -- workplace that is more fluid. and those are things that women do extremely well. >> a couple of things. what have you found about people and listening? >> i have a friend, he is here
in town. we will talk about a subject sometimes a personal subject, he is a close friend, sometimes a subject of the world. what strikes me about thpete is there is a normal rhythm. he lingers. in my mind, the touting it he has asked me three questions and i will move on and he will ask another four or five questions. he has great facility to linger and when your attention wanders these days with her. that is a -- he stays with it. that is a phenomenal capacity. >> how would you grade most people? >> most people, including myself, are bad. we think about what we are going to say, we are not present, or the mind is wandering. we do not hear the nuance and we
forget so much. there are a couple of people that are almost professional listeners and i would put you in that category, that is what you do. the other person in a similar role with me was jim lehrer who interviewed me many years on the news hour with jim lehrer. what is interesting is that in the job you have, people do not appreciate how much the questioner since the frame of the conversation. it is so important. people in 12 or 14 minute segments, some people have questions written down and they will ask you questions no matter what you say. some people, the questions go in a circle. lehrer, he could listen and take out the words that were the most important and give them to mark. i would say, that is utterly ridiculous and give a bunch of reasons and he would turn to martin say, utterly ridiculous
-- mark and say, utterly ridiculous? that is a rare skill. >> what about her other point -- she made many but sit still and focus? >> that is a problem for a lot of us. that is why i say we have lost the ability to have patience. we are in a world -- the result is talk about technology and what it is doing to us and -- there is so much talk about technology and what it is doing to us and i think most of it is wrong. but i do think it is shortening attention spans. we have been in the studio for 30 minutes and i guarantee this is the longest period of this day i will stop without checking my phone. somebody said if you want to drive a mouse crazy, give it an irregular pattern of rewards.
you become addicted. the phone is like that. whehterther it is a phone call from a friend or a text message, i am constantly checking. i am writing and every few minutes i will check. it becomes a weird addiction. >> do you relate to your children by the phone? >> we text each other a lot. >> what do you see in your three kids about the change in long form or thinking or reading that you can comment on? >> i would not separate them from myself, we all spend way too much time looking at vines these little videos. >> six seconds. >> or cat videos. i have a friend who loves dancing children and if there is a video, she is in an uproar.
i saw a kid that was meditating with his dad and trying to fall asleep he is jerking around. i spent way too much time watching that. young people these days are on reddit and 4chan user generated sites where people are sharing things that are interesting or older. -- vulger. it is a waste of time. i would not want to live in it but it is a waste of time -- limit it but it is a waste of time. >> since you were 16 years old you have followed this person. >> can you feel it? [cheers] can you feel these there are now -- cov spirit now -- feel the
spirit now? [cheer] can you feel the spirit now? >> bruce springsteen over in europe and you went to europe for a year to follow him around? >> i went to two concerts with my friend jeff goldberg, also a writer. we went over there to madrid and southern france and saw two concerts. in part because i have listened to his voice more than any other voice outside of a family member since i have been 15. i listened to him constantly. >> why? >>'s music moves made, his worldview -- he is way to the left of me. there is a romantic quality to his writing, a level the underdog.
-- a love of the underdog. he emotionally opens you up and i love him for that. the madrid show was the best. he is probably 61 now and the madrid general was 60 minutes of energy -- madrid show was 60 minutes of energy. i am off to the side and he is singing "born in the usa." there are 65,000 spaniards singing along with him "i was born in the usa." and i wanted to say, no you weren't. it is a testimony to the power. springsteen, he had two first albums that were not successful, third album, "born to run," was very successful. the trajectory for him would have been to go big to do
frankly what taylor swift has done, to become ubiquitous and to move out of his roots and become a popstar, that would be a normal trajectory. he got into a legal difficulty but he took an artistic turn so he went back to his roots more new jersey small town, a darker vision "darkness on the edge of town" was the album. it was a return to what he knew well. what struck me was that the decision was bragged -- brave but also on -- also artistic genius. because people will react they will enter the world with you. they enter the harry potter world. they entered. his world. -- they enter tolstoy's world. i was with the spaniards and the things from new jersey -- nine
asbury park -- they knew all of that. it is really a lesson for people doing creative life, to stay rooted in that spot. and he puts on the best rock performance show ever. >> we have done music and magazine writing and column writing and talked about books. what is the most influential movie you have seen in the last couple of years? >> i used to be a movie critic and that number to me on movies. -- numbed me on movies. i hardly see them anymore. i began to see them through the eyes of producers and see financial decisions. i was in love with movies or the first 30 years of my life and not anymore. the movies i love, certain movies, my favorite movie is a john ford western called "researchers," -- "researchers,"
-- " the searchers," starring john wayne. it is about a character who is savage and shut out of the mess that society and sacrifices himself for the social order. john ford movies are fun to watch but the about america. -- deep about america. >> this is another clip about sidney hook. >> today people say, that is not enough. when you must leave, not merely discrimination, you must be in favor of reverse discrimination. you must judge people on the basis that membership in groups.
and i say, oh no, we always opposed that. roy wilkins, secretary of the national association for the advancement of colored people seized on a phrase that justice holland in a dissenting decision and plessy versus ferguson said, "justice should be colorblind." that is the liberal position. my astonishment, today the current chairman of the national association for the advancement of colored people has said that to believe justice should be colorblind is stupidity. >> i think mav gave the case for reparations -- i maybe gave the case for reparations the sidney awards ironically. >> he changed his mind on some
things in his life when you read about him. and you have too. what are your biggest changes? >> i started out on the left in college and then went to the right, working at google the national review -- "the national review." a lot of that was crying on different things -- writing on different things -- trying on different things. i now have two guiding stars in what i believe although i do not fit into a normal pattern. what is edmund burke, an irish philosopher and british politician. his key phrase is the best logical modesty. -- epistemological modesty. the world is complicated and we
should not get arrogant about reason. that is a conservative belief in caution and a great belief in the wisdom of tradition in general and that reform and change should be constant, steady, and slow. my other leading figure in my life intellectually as alexander hamilton. alton was a great believer in mobility, -- hamilton was a great believer in mobility, social mobility. his mother died when he was young and he rose to become a war hero and then a successful lawyer and treasury secretary. his life is one of tremendous ascent. he wanted to create an american economy that would make it possible for poor boys and girls to rise and succeed antifog jefferson wanted to keep an oligarchic society. that led to the whig party and
the early republican party. those are the lodestars and they make me a left-wing republican a moderate conservative. that category barely exists in america today. >> when "the new york times" hired you, what did they expect you to represent? >> they did not have any category, there was no assignment. all i was a certain sort of conservative, a conservative that "the new york times" readers can stand. i come from new york, culturally, but i am to the right. they give us great freedom, we have copy editors but we do not have reviews, we are not told what to write about. we are free agents. >> i want to remind audiences that on our "q&a" site, you can
read your columns. last question, we are about out of time. what book would you recommend that you have read in the last -- i do not care when. to get into this world of thinking. >> i will read as a called "-- an essay called "the hedgehog and the fox." it is about tolstoy and different ways of thinking about things. "a bright abyss" by christian wyman, able to about what christian faith looks like -- a book about what christian faith looks like. and then i would read george orwell, his essays, not the novels. the collections of essays, one called "shooting the elephant." they are personal essays but they are about political issues and he was one of the greatest
clinical essayists of all time. -- political essayists of all-time. >> david brooks has been our guest. you can read his book. >> available for preorder on amazon even now. >> and in "the new york times" twice a week. thank you for talking about the sidney awards. >> it is always a pleasure. >> for free transcripts or to give us comments about this program, visit us at q&a.org. programs are also available as c-span podcasts. if you enjoyed this week's interview, here are some that you would like.
founder of the weekly standard. journalist author, and former speechwriter for president george h.w. bush. on the next washington journal jonathan allen looks at the big issues before congress in the coming weeks. details on the new report on how americans view police and how their trust in police has changed. and chris edwards talks about funding for roads bridges, and mass transit. you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. >> monday night, gigi